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ECCC arrests ex-Khmer Rouge head of state

[JURIST] The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday arrested [press release] former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan following his release from a hospital. Khieu Samphan, who suffered a stroke [NYT report] last week, will appear before investigating judges later Monday to determine what charges he will face. Khieu Samphan has defended the late Khmer Rouge dictator Pol Pot [JURIST report] in a newly released book, denying that he was responsible for genocide. In his Reflection on Cambodian History Up to the Era of Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia), Khieu Samphan called Pol Pot a patriot [BBC report] insisting that in his government "[t]here was no policy of starving people. Nor was there any direction set out for carrying out mass killings." The Khmer Rouge [JURIST news archive; BBC backgrounder] has been blamed for the deaths of some 1.7 million people [PPU backgrounder] from starvation, disease, overwork and execution between 1975 and 1979.

Khieu Samphan is the fifth senior Khmer Rouge leader to be detained by the ECCC, though no top Khmer Rouge official has faced trial to date. Last week, the ECCC announced formal charges [JURIST report] against former Cambodian Foreign Minister Ieng Sary and his wife Ieng Thirith, who served as minister of social affairs. In August, the ECCC brought its first charges against Kaing Khek Iev [JURIST report], better known as "Duch", who was in charge of the notorious S-21 prison in Phnom Penh. Former Khmer Rouge official Nuon Chea is awaiting trial [JURIST report] for charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. ECCC trials are expected to begin next year. AP has more.

5:16 GMT - Khieu Samphan has been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. BBC News has more.

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